Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

Leah Greene is dead, and her ex-best friend Laine thinks it’s her fault because she hated Leah so much for what they did in the closet.

Lessons from a Dead Girl is definitely the kind of YA that I gravitated to when I was a teen: suggestive premise and hints of illicit activity, all masked in an object lesson about something or other. This is a fair-to-middling entrant in the subgenre. The writing is good with strong characters, but it never really soars the way a book like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak does. That’s no big deal; all it means is that Lessons from a Dead Girl isn’t destined to become a classic.

What Lessons from a Dead Girl does well is examine the lasting effects of sexual abuse; namely, that it can turn victim into perpetrator. I thought that author Jo Knowles did a good job at presenting the subject matter in a subtle way, and hopefully it will get into the right hands and help kids who may need it.

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